Xanthippic Dialogues

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283 pages, 6" x 9", preface, notes, index

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Xanthippic Dialogues

Comprising: Xanthippe's Republic; Perictione's Parmenides; and Xanthippe's Laws; together with a version, probably spurious, of Phryne's Symposium

Scruton, Roger

In Plato’s dialogues, an idealized Socrates expounds the ideas for which Plato will, until the end of history, be famous. The world of Forms; the ideal Republic with its totalitarian masterplan; the tribute to Eros, god of love (or at least of homosexual love); the promise of the soul’s salvation – all this has come down to us in the distinctive tone of voice of Plato’s teacher. But how much of it did Socrates believe? Were Plato’s contemporaries really taken in? And what lay behind his philosophy, from which the real world of men and women was so rigorously excluded?

Until the discovery of the Xanthippic Dialogues, we had no answer to those questions. Now at last the real Plato is revealed to us, by the women whom he banished from his arguments. In this brilliant and witty exposé, the mask of abstraction is lifted, to reveal the truth that lies beneath. And the truth is Xanthippe: wife of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, and Founding Mother of the Western world. This is a book that no feminist can afford to ignore.

“Scruton . . . has ‘discovered’ the long-lost dialogues of Xanthippe, wife of Socrates, in which, among other things, she explains to an embarrassingly inept Plato how he got her husband’s thought, such as it was, all wrong. First published in England, this wondrously learned and wickedly mischievous send-up caused a stir among the philosophically literate.” – First Things

“What is original is the working of it into a richly complex, compelling, fluent and natural-seeming fiction, in which each theme and topic seems spontaneously to arise out of its predecessor, and the whole to be woven together into a convincing vision, unified but not unitary, of the nature and ends of life.” – Robert Grant,Philosophical Quarterly

“Scruton has created a witty work that operates on several levels. . . . Scruton’s characters have a three-dimensional quality that makes his intelligently written satire of the ‘lost’ dialogs work. Recommended for all libraries.” – Library Journal

“A riotous send-up of scholarly writing. If philosophy seems an unlikely subject for comedy, try this.” – Financial Times